Peak foliage is entirely dependent on the weather. Ideal conditions for seeing beautiful foliage vary from year to year, so there's no way to pinpoint in advance the prime days to see the changing leaves. In many places, though, state tourism boards, local bloggers, and park rangers keep close tabs on local foliage conditions. If you know where to look, you can get up-to-the-minute information on exactly when and where to see the most vivid fall landscapes.
Below, I've linked to every foliage report I could find for the 2014 season, categorized by region. Some places don't have their updates up yet—especially the more southern locales. Check out Facebook and Twitter pages for national or state parks and destinations for more information. Make a call to a state park or national park and speak with a ranger. The National Forest Service used to operate a foliage hotline, but I called it today and a recorded message said that the information is up to date as of October 2013; that's no good. If it comes back to life this season, we'll let you know. Stormfax posts a list of foliage hotlines in the U.S., but I haven't called them all, so I can't promise they're up to date. You can also check out the following resources:
- Here's the Farmer's Almanac, which predicts when peak foliage-viewing days will happen in 2014.
- The Foliage Network is a free service that collects and analyzes data from its own "foliage spotters." It appears to be up to date.
The official New Jersey tourism website doesn't appear to offer foliage reports as of yet. You can see current images of the leaves changing in the state on the NJ Hiking Fall Foliage Forum.
Here's the 2014 foliage report for New York.
Pennsylvania's official tourism website says the state's foliage reports are "coming soon." Check this page for updates.
There are no foliage reports as of yet on the official Indiana tourism website. Brown County Indiana's tourism site, however, displays a pretty cool leaf cam.
Iowa's Department of Natural Resources posts fall color updates here, but they haven't started yet.
Michigan's official tourism site offers this page with a fall color map, and invites travelers to sign up to receive up-to-the-minute foliage reports via email.
Here's North Dakota's foliage report.
Ohio's foliage reports begin October 1.
See Minnesota's North Shore report here.
Missouri's fall-color updates were posted on the state's Department of Conservation site last year, but that page hasn't been updated for this season yet. Check back.
Find Wisconsin's foliage report on TravelWisconsin.com.
See the Connecticut foliage report on the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website.
September 10 marks the "official" launch of Maine's fall foliage season. Expect the most colorful conditions in Maine at the end of September and into the first week of October. See reports on the Maine Foliage website.
Massachusetts operates live foliage feeds throughout the state. View them on the state's InstaFoliage website.
Here's an up-to-date report for New Hampshire's White Mountains.
Here's Vermont's report. The leaves have already begun to change in Vermont.
The California Fall Color Blog is a fantastic source for recent photos and updates.
Utah has a Web cam and a leaf-peeping blog, and offers foliage alerts on the Utah Fall Colors site.
Wyoming offers an overview of where to see the leaves changing on the Wyoming Office of Tourism site.
Alabama doesn't appear to have a 2014 foliage report as of yet, but the state tourism board posts an indicator of when peak peeping happens here.
Arkansas foliage reports begin September 25 on the Arkansas tourism site.
Find Georgia's leaf watch, which kicks off in October, here.
Foliage reports for Kentucky will be posted on the Kentucky Tourism website beginning in October. Expect peak foliage to happen around mid- to late October.
North Carolina representatives say reports are "coming soon;" check back later on this page. Likewise, South Carolina's foliage reports have yet to appear. You can see last year's here; let's hope the site will update this information soon.
Oklahoma's leaves become most colorful in late October, according to the state's tourism website. No reports are available yet, so check back for future updates.
Foliage reports for Arizona and New Mexico are available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service site. The department predicts peak viewing will happen in mid- to late October.
I couldn't find a Texas foliage report online, but according to various sources, the leaves will be at their most colorful in mid- to late October. The Lost Maples State Natural Area website has a foliage report, which will receive updates beginning in October.
Virgina's foliage forecast starts October 1; check back here for updated reports.
West Virginia's foliage updates start in late September. You can check the West Virginia State Parks website for updates, or call 1-800-CALL WVA for reports by phone.
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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title The Ultimate Foliage Report Resources for 2014.